Take These 3 Steps This Holiday Season to Prepare for a New Year’s Home Sale

Deciding to sell your home is a big step, but almost all home owners will still have a few things to do before actually activating their listing. Remember, buyers assume that a clean, organized, updated home has been well-maintained — and they make the opposite assumption about dirty, cluttered, or dated homes. Once you’ve made the decision to sell, don’t leave any money on the table. Give yourself an edge on a successful sale and a “show ready” home by getting an early start with these three tips this holiday season:

  1. Start paring down the master closet. “This house has way too much storage!” said NO BUYER EVER. It probably goes without saying that an empty closet shows better with buyers than one packed full of clothes and miscellany. That being said, emptying all the closets is not practical for most homeowners so concentrate your efforts on THE most important closet in a home buyer’s decision-making process: the master bedroom closet. Organize, eliminate, and get stuff off the floor. For more detailed info on how to organize your closet for staging, check out our book, Just Right! Easy DIY Home Staging for Bedrooms & Closets, now available in the iBooks store.
  2. Begin de-personalizing. Buyers need to be able to walk into your home and easily envision their family living there — not reminded that they are a guest in someone else’s home. Start packing family photos, collections, sports memorabilia, and anything related to your hobbies or religion. This may feel especially difficult during the holiday season, but if you plan on listing at the first of the year, set yourself up for a faster sale by starting the de-personalization process NOW.
  3. Take care of any maintenance, repairs, or updates. Leaky faucets, that one light switch that doesn’t work, the places on the wall that need touch-up paint…the list goes on and on for most homeowners. NOW is the time to start updating or fixing all those things you’ve been putting off. One trick we use with our clients is blue painter’s tape — just stick a small piece on every spot in your house that needs maintenance or updating. The tape pieces are a constant visual “to-do” list that you can work on in the months leading up to your listing.

When it comes to preparing your home for sale, it’s extremely hard for most sellers to be objective about their own home. Hiring a professional home stager to do a guided Walk and Talk Consultation or even just having an honest, heart-to-heart discussion with your real estate agent a month or more BEFORE you list your home will give you more time to make the changes needed to get you a faster sale and a higher profit. Ready to get started? Call Three Bears Home Staging in Katy, TX at (832) 377-0785 to set up a consultation.

Title photo credit:  “Dishwashing gloves and sponge” by www.yourbestdigs.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0

7 Budget-Friendly Ways to Give Today’s Home Buyers What They’re Looking For

blog-give-buyers-what-they-want1Home owners are sometimes reluctant to invest money when putting their home on the market. Sooner or later, they’ll be moving out anyway and extensive renovations often only increase home value by a fraction of the project’s costs.

So why bother?

It’s simple: doing nothing could cost you far more in the long run than the small amount you’ll spend doing simple home-improvement and prep projects. It could mean the difference between multiple offers that increase the selling price, and a home that stagnates on the market while you continue to pay mortgage and utility costs.

To maximize your selling and renovation budget, pay attention to features that will make your home more attractive to today’s potential buyers:

 

  1. Add new “jewelry” to important rooms. Bathrooms and kitchens are the most expensive rooms to remodel, but a full-scale renovation isn’t always necessary to show a home in its best light. Less expensive updates, like replacing cabinet hardware, faucets, or lighting or adding a fresh coat of neutral paint, go a long way toward creating spaces that feel modern and clean.
  2. Add flow. The majority of today’s homebuyers prefer open floor plans, a feature that’s especially hard to come by in older homes. Before putting your home on the market, reduce the amount of furniture in your house — put it in the garage, off-site storage, take it to a friend’s house, move it to another room — to create an open flow between rooms and the feel of more open space in the home.
  3. Add light. Ample daylight is highly desirable among most home buyers. Remove heavy curtains or draperies, trim shrubbery or trees that may be blocking light, and move furniture away from windows to let the sunlight in.
  4. Update technology and energy efficiency features. Today’s buyers are growing to expect app-driven technology and energy efficiency in their homes. Adding features like a smart thermostat, USB charging ports, LED lights, ceiling fans, or security systems that can be operated from a smart phone are small investments that may give you an edge as a seller.
  5. Create a home office. Telecommuting is still on the rise, especially in suburban Houston, TX communities like, Katy, Sugar Land, and Cypress, making a dedicated home office space essential for many buyers. Consider turning a fourth bedroom into an office or use a small desk, lamp, and a chair to create the feeling of a separate space in a larger room.
  6. Use professional photos. According to the National Association of Realtors, more than 90% of all home buyers begin their home search on the Internet. A fantastic online photo presentation is essential to bringing those buyers to your front door. Photos should be plentiful, well-lit, and ideally, shot by a professional real estate photographer with a wide angle lens. And for heavens sake, DECLUTTER AND CLEAN UP BEFORE THE PHOTOGRAPHER GETS THERE! I dare you to go online right now and see how many listing photos you can find with piles of toys, fast food bags scattered on kitchen counters, and toiletries strewn across bathroom sinks and showers. There’s nothing worse than multiple photos of badly staged rooms, and sellers who do this are LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE.
  7. Stage it. Don’t underestimate the influence of HGTV and Pinterest with your potential buyers. Home decor-related websites and tv shows permeate the market, and today’s home buyers want the current trends. Sometimes even small changes, like adding a few modern accessories, can help your home appear more contemporary and up-to-date. Getting feedback from a professionally certified home stager can reap huge benefits in terms of learning the best (and worst) ROI updates and additions you can make to your particular home.

Do you have suggestions for budget-friendly renovations for home sellers? Comment below! If you need some help getting started, give Three Bears Home Staging a call at (832) 377-0785 to schedule a Walk & Talk Consultation . We can give you feedback that will put you on the right track for a faster sale and a higher profit!

Title photo credit:  “Holding phone with iPhone app on screen” by www.yourbestdigs.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0

How to Make Your Bedroom More Romantic

How to Make Your Bedroom More RomanticYour master bedroom should be a relaxing, romantic respite from the chaos of the world around you. Whether you’re staging your home for sale or just trying to create a more inspiring vibe in your current space, a few simple changes this Valentine’s Day can add romance and calm to your bedroom sanctuary:

  • Tidy up. Lots of clutter lying around can be a a source of white-noise type anxiety for some people because it’s a constant reminder of chores that need to be done. Remove the piles of laundry, stacks of books and papers, and other “stuff” piled on nightstands and dressers to create a calmer, more peaceful space.
  • Make it plush. Think upscale hotel bedding–lots of pillows, cozy blankets, and extra soft sheets.
  • Freshen up. Are there weird smells in your bedroom? No? Are you positive? Most of us become “noseblind” to the scents in our own home. Textiles can hold a lot of odors so launder draperies and bedding. Sprinkle carpets with baking soda, wait 30 minutes, then vacuum to remove even more odor. Houseplants are another great way to continually clean the air. Open windows to air out the space. Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned, light a scented candle for a little fragrance and ambiance.
  • Examine your lighting. Soft white bulbs are ideal for bedrooms — avoid “daylight” bulbs or fluorescent overhead lighting when possible. Subtle, ambient lighting, like a table lamp, is even better.

And of course…fresh flowers and a little chocolate are always a nice touch!

How to you make your master bedroom a more beautiful, relaxing space? Share with us! And if you’re thinking of selling your Katy, TX home soon, give us a call. Our Walk and Talk Consultations provide home sellers with immediate feedback on how to get top dollar and a quick sale.

Photo credit: Tobias Wutzow via CreativeCommons.org

4 Secrets for Picking the Right Paint Color

blog-choosing-paintPaint color sets the tone for your home. The right color brings everything together in harmony. The wrong color can feel overwhelming and chaotic. You can avoid an expensive decorating mistake by using these tricks of the trade to pick the paint color that’s right for you.

  • Compare your choice with the bottom of the strip. The true color is at the base. This color is the most saturated and allows you to see the true undertone much more easily (e.g., “Oh wow, the bottom color is surprisingly reddish…so that beige I liked at the top of the strip might look kind of pink on the wall!”)
  • Know how light will affect the feel of the space. Evaluate how the light in YOUR space will affect the color. In other words, do NOT choose paint based solely on a color you selected at the paint store/online or because it worked in another house or even in another room!
    • Natural daylight will reflect the truest hues. Southern light is warmer and brighter, while Northern light is cooler and dimmer.
    • Incandescent lighting will bring out the warmer, yellower tones in color.
    • Fluorescent bulbs, though energy-efficient, cast a diffuse, shadowless light that gives a blue tinge to the colors in the room. Warm wall colors (yellow, gold, orange, wheat tones) lose their warmth in older-style fluorescent light. Newer fluorescent bulbs, called triphosphor fluorescent lamps, are warmer and render color that more closely resembles sunlight.
  • blog-choosing-paint-PAINTSTRIPConsider the flow between other rooms. Color should bring the space together with a natural flow. This is especially true in open floor plans, which are typically better suited to one main color throughout the home with some well-placed accent colors in a few places.

Hint: One safe and effective way to add some dimension is to select tints or shades from the same color strip.

  • Try a sample. Once you’ve narrowed it down, purchase a sample from your favorite paint store and paint a few large pieces of poster board. Hang your paint samples on different walls for a few days and note how the light changes and how it plays with your other accessories. *I provide free 8″ x 10″ color samples to my color consultation clients.

Still need a little help? Three Bears Home Staging and Redesign offers affordable color consultations that can help you choose the paint that’s right for you! We also have great color palettes that work for home staging! Call us at (832) 377-0785 to transform your home into a color palette you love!